Redshirt sophomore defensive end Mitchell Melton went down with a knee injury in Ohio State’s spring game last month and on Friday it was confirmed to be a torn ACL for the Silver Spring, Maryland native.
Speaking with reporters on Friday, Buckeye head coach Ryan Day said it would be a long road back for Melton.
“Yeah, that’ll be another long-term [situation],” Day said. “It was an ACL. And we don’t get into too many of those things, but it’s a long-term injury. So, he’ll be on the road to recovery and I saw him earlier today with his family. And it’s hard when you embrace these injuries because you know it’s gonna be a long road back. And that’s why it’s so important to have [team physical therapist] Adam Stewart still be a part of the program, because he’s a big part of their lives and their recovery and their rehab. And he’s the best in the business. So the good news is we have great resources and these guys are in good hands. The negative is it’s a long road back to recovery.”
It’s not unusual for players to return in about nine months from an ACL tear, which would put Melton’s return sometime around the New Year possibly for bowl practice.
Spring injuries are not new for Melton, unfortunately. He missed last season following a leg injury that occurred in the spring as well. He played in just one game as a true freshman in 2020.
The injury is made more disappointing for both Melton and the Buckeyes because of how well he was playing this spring following a move from linebacker to defensive end. New defensive coordinator Jim Knowles was impressed by how quickly Melton picked things up and loved his attitude towards learning a new position.
If Melton does miss the season, the Buckeyes will still be able to take the field with eight scholarship defensive ends.